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Smoke & Dagger - Jack's Abby Brewing

Not Rated.
Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

750 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 134
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 39
Gots: 62 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mduncan on 07-29-2011

Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer skirts the line between a schwarzbier and smoked porter. The use of a small percentage of traditional Beechwood smoked malt adds complexity and balances the liberal use of chocolate malt. Notes of roasted grains, beechwood smoke,and coffee accompany a full bodied-and sweet chocolately malt character. Smoke & Dagger uses locally grown unmalted barley from MA.

25 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 750 | Reviews: 134 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cburns48
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of nootch23
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - pours black with a about a fingers worth of a khaki white head. As the head recedes to the side of the glass makes a pretty presentable looking beer as expected with this style.

S - very roasty smell right up front with underlying traces of chocolate. Big maltiness to the smell.

T - for me this is all coffee and malt. No signs of sweetness to this beer, not even a little bit as expected. Has a semi-dry finish to it and a little bitterness that I attribute to the coffee aspect of this beer. Nice roastiness to it.

M - semi-dry finish to it. Leaves my mouth with the roastiness that was prevelant in the taste. Slight bitterness to it as well.

O - It's impressive that Jack's Abby only makes lagers and find ways of making lagers taste absolutely nothing like a lager. Smoke & Dagger is no different and tastes like a different style of beer. It's a pretty solid and a favorite of mine by them when the weather puts me in the mood for a black lager. Will definitely purchase this again.

Photo of marcdalke
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of RummyRedbeard
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of thebigredone
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ncaudle
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of comfortablynirm
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of dnoahg
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

My second Jack's Abby beer. Acquired from ICCULIS in a trade; thanks again, buddy! Per the label description, it's somewhere between a schwarzbier and a smoked porter. I'm reviewing it as a shwarzbier (not a rauchbier as currently classified on the site) because I trust the brewer over some guy who clicked a style. 5.8% ABV confirmed. 25 IBUs. 14.5 plato. 500ml brown glass bottle with standard silver unbranded pressure cap served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery's reputation (though I was underwhelmed by their biere de garde).

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger light khaki colour head. Slight cream. Nice thickness. Above average (~3 minute) retention. No lacing as the head recedes. Body colour is an extremely dark brown; not quite a black but seemingly so if you don't look carefully. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Opaque (nontransparent and nontranslucent). Par for the style. Not unique or special.

Sm: Light oak catches my attention, actually. A light hint of vanilla. Has my broken nose steered me wrong? Dark malts. Chocolate malt. Very very light smoked malts - not the pork/meat or heavy smoke you get from most smoked beers, but rather a subtle backgrounded smokiness. It's extremely restrained and not at all dominant. This is definitely not a rauchbier as is currently classified. No bacon notes. Light indistinct coffee. Mild woodiness. Lacks sufficient roast. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. Interesting for a schwarzbier. I can see where one could claim it's a borderline smoked porter. A mild strength aroma. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T: Smokiness is present throughout, but lurks as an undertone rather than surfacing as an isolated note. It lends the beer a guided cohesive feel. Dark malts and chocolate malt comprise the foundation, which is unobtrusive and somewhat generic. Any hopping is minimal; I don't notice any evocative character in terms of hops. Coffee is rather restrained; it's barely present. Tends towards the slightly sweeter side of the sweet/bitter balance, but the smokiness keeps it in check. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. I do like it, but while well balanced, it doesn't provide any unique or special features. It may be one of the better scharzbiers/black lagers I've had, but that isn't saying much in my personal case. Well put together, but I suppose an ideal beer in the style would bring far more complexity and subtlety to the table. I nitpick only because I respect the quality that's there.

Mf: Nice thickness. Interesting coarseness/smoothness interplay; it varies throughout but hits either end at just the right points in my opinion. Slight overcarbonation. Decent presence on the palate. Lackluster depth of flavour. Not very soft at all. Unrefreshing.

Dr: A solid schwarzbier from Jack's Abby, but there's definite room for improvement. I think in terms of adherence to style this is a far better effort than their biere de garde. Of course, style be damned here. It's a schwarzbier-come-smoked porter and so much the better; I think it's better for its experimentation and I like what it's trying to do. Hides its ABV pretty well. Drinkable for a schwarzbier. I think the smoked character is very well implemented; this is the only subtlety I detect in the beer. Jack's Abby still has yet to truly wow me, but this is only my second beer of theirs. A solid sporting effort that gives me renewed interest in trying more of their beers. Still, it leaves much to be desired.

High C+

Photo of headyhopzhead
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of hopley
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of peensteen
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Liam

Deep brown head, decent ring of whiteish head, good amount of lace here too. Smell is of roasted malts, chocolate and smoke, a little bit of liquorice, a mild but noteable hop presence as well here, bit of a dark bread note as well. Taste is of dark malts and chocolate, well roasted malts, lightly bitter, a bit of anise as well, roast-chocolate finish and aftertaste. Lightly carbonated with a medium-full body, a bit of an oily feel as well. Awesome stuff here, great flavours and really drinkable, worthy of revisits for sure.

Photo of st9647v3
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Apathetiq
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of DerekMorgan
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of pveilleux
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of atone315
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of vonnegut21
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Kevincredible
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a bottle at The Whiskey Priest in Boston, MA

A: Pours a clear dark brown in color with some moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some ruby red highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy light tan head that quickly redues to a medium patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of smoked malts (you can definitely pick out the fact that it was smoked with beechwood) with lighter notes of chocolate malts and coffee. Very light notes of earthy hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of chocolate malts and smoked malts, with just the most subtle hints of a BBQ pit. There is a light hint of nuttiness and some light caramel sweetness as well. Next come the flavors of roasted coffee and the touch of dark chocolate. There are light amounts of earthy hops in the finish which give the beer a light amount of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of gentle carbonation. Smooth with a light amount of dryness in the finish.

O: I enjoyed this beer - the smoke flavors are quite pleasant and really add to the beer without being overwhelming or having too much of an iodine flavor. The beer was easy to drink and I had no problem putting down a 22 oz bottle on my own - in fact, I wish there was a little more of it to drink. Would pair very nicely with meats.

Photo of Dhamma73
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Mikecap
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown from a 500 ml bottle into a tulip with two fingers of beige head that remains for a bit.

Smell: Smoke, toasted malt and even a bit of chocolate come out in the nose. An interesting complex aroma that begs me to taste.

Taste: Less smoke than I'd expect but I definitely get the chocolate and the sweet malted backbone behind this. A bit of roastiness and coffee flavor come through on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very little bitterness and smooth for this style of beer. Very easy drinking brew.

Overall: I liked this more than I expected and would definitely have it again. A nice dark lager that would be perfect with barbecue.

Photo of ericlawton007
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of liamt07
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Boston Wine Exchange, 500ml into a tulip. Bottled March 7, 2013.

Dark brown, tan head. Light roast and chocolate on the nose, along with some lightly bready and doughy notes. Taste is chocolatey, roasty, lightly sweet, smoke is peripheral. Lager yeast qualities come through. Medium light body, perfectly medium light carbonation. More of a schwarzbier, and perhaps the best I've ever had.

Photo of Sultz04
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.